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Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.44 | 1582 ratings

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3 stars 2.5 stars really.

Guess I should have got the special edition.......the one with the all instrumental mix.

The first thing one notices on this album is just how downright awful the lyrics are. I mean, really, someone needs to have a serious chat with John Petrucci about this because my 9 year old son could write better lyrics than this! Portnoy's contributions are much, much better though still not exactly top tier lyrics. I have to say that while the lyrics on the last album were pretty bad as well (again, just Petrucci's), this one does the impossible and manages even worse lyrics!

On the musical side, this is obviously a band that is far past their peak, but still manages to keep the interest of die hard fans. I am certainly not a die hard fan, but I have to admit that most of the music here appeals to me on some level. I'm not generally a prog metal fan either, and DT has been my one interest in that area over the years.

The first and last tracks are really the ones to listen to musically speaking, with the final epic track being possibly my favorite piece I've ever heard from the band. Yet, it also has the worst lyrics I've ever heard from them as well (possibly the worst lyrics of any song I've ever heard, certainly in the prog world, and that is really saying something). Go figure. The first song is not quite as interesting musically, though still a great listen for me. Still has terrible lyrics, but not quite to the low level of the final track. My only consolation lyrically with these songs is that sometimes you get a really good laugh (for example, as others have mentioned, the growling "the finest wines improve with age" line.......cracks me up every time).

For the middle songs, we have the now obligatory Metallica number, followed by the obligatory ballad. Not much to say about these songs aside from the fact that they sound a great deal like the previous ones from the last album (and in the case of the ballad, like all their other ballads). The Shattered Fortress is, of course, the final installment of Portnoy's AA suite and as such is a kind of summing up of all the other parts. Personally, I think it's pretty decent in that regard, though probably would sound better with the whole suite in front of it. Probably the only song here with emotional content, is Portnoy's tribute to his father, The Best Of Times, who passed away sometime before the recording of this album. A very good emotional song with touching lyrics, and probably one of the only songs that doesn't sound like a rehash of previous stuff. Not bad at all.

As I mentioned earlier, The Count Of Tuscany is musically probably my favorite DT song to date, even if it is essentially nothing new. It is a very well constructed epic, even though it is pretty formulaic. I really love the almost ambient part in it, one of those rare times when DT actually mellow out for a bit (that is not a sappy, formulaic ballad). If only it weren't for the lyrics.........but we discussed that already.

Anyway, a strange album that features pretty good, if also pretty tired and formulaic, music juxtaposed with downright silly and amateurish lyrics. I think it may be time to consider a lyricist, Dream Theater. Now that Portnoy is gone especially, since his lyrics were at least not completely laughable. I will give this one 2.5 stars, rounding up to 3, because I really think that only a true fan could consider this excellent. If it weren't for the lyrics, I'd probably consider 4 stars (or, at least 3.5) but I just can't get past how awful most of them are. Do yourself a favor and get a hold of the all instrumental mix of the album. Not having LaBrie's vocals (and the laughable psudo-growls) won't be a hindrance, believe me.

infandous | 3/5 |


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